MedlinePlus

Guaifenesin

E-mail to a friend
IMPORTANT WARNING
FDA Intends to Remove Some Unapproved Cough, Cold, and Allergy Drugs from the Market [More...]
Why is this medication prescribed?
Guaifenesin is used to relieve chest congestion. Guaifenesin may help control symptoms but does not treat the cause of symptoms or speed recovery. Guaifenesin is in a class of medications called expectorants. It works by thinning the mucus in the air passages to make it easier to cough up the mucus and clear the airways.

How should this medicine be used?
Guaifenesin comes as a tablet, a capsule, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, dissolving granules, and a syrup (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablets, capsules, dissolving granules, and syrup are usually taken with or without food every 4 hours as needed. The extended-release tablet is usually taken with or without food every 12 hours. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take guaifenesin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Guaifenesin comes alone and in combination with antihistamines, cough suppressants, and decongestants. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on which product is best for your symptoms. Check nonprescription cough and cold product labels carefully before using two or more products at the same time. These products may contain the same active ingredient(s) and taking them together could cause you to receive an overdose. This is especially important if you will be giving cough and cold medications to a child.

Nonprescription cough and cold combination products, including products that contain guaifenesin, can cause serious side effects or death in young children. Do not give these products to children younger than 4 years of age. If you give these products to children 4 to 11 years of age, use caution and follow the package directions carefully.

If you are giving guaifenesin or a combination product that contains guaifenesin to a child, read the package label carefully to be sure that it is the right product for a child of that age. Do not give guaifenesin products that are made for adults to children.

Before you give a guaifenesin product to a child, check the package label to find out how much medication the child should receive. Give the dose that matches the child's age on the chart. Ask the child's doctor if you don't know how much medication to give the child.

If you are taking the liquid, do not use a household spoon to measure your dose. Use the measuring spoon or cup that came with the medication or use a spoon made especially for measuring medication.

Swallow the extended-release tablets whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, crush, or chew them.

If you are taking the dissolving granules, empty the entire contents of the packet onto your tongue and swallow.

If your symptoms do not improve within 7 days or if you also have a high fever, a rash, or a headache that does not go away, call your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking guaifenesin,
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking this medication.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Guaifenesin is usually taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take guaifenesin regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?
Guaifenesin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: Guaifenesin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about guaifenesin.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

Last Revised - 05/16/2011
© 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.
ASHP
Top | Home | Contact Us | Copyright | Privacy